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Hot water fluid isolation valve
7789106 Hot water fluid isolation valve
Patent Drawings:Drawing: 7789106-10    Drawing: 7789106-11    Drawing: 7789106-12    Drawing: 7789106-13    Drawing: 7789106-14    Drawing: 7789106-15    Drawing: 7789106-16    Drawing: 7789106-17    Drawing: 7789106-18    Drawing: 7789106-2    
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(17 images)

Inventor: Reck
Date Issued: September 7, 2010
Application: 11/541,817
Filed: October 2, 2006
Inventors: Reck; Michael E. (Belmont, MA)
Assignee: Webstone Company, Inc. (Worcester, MA)
Primary Examiner: Fox; John
Assistant Examiner:
Attorney Or Agent: Seyfarth Shaw LLPMichaelis; Brian L.
U.S. Class: 137/625.47; 137/878
Field Of Search: 137/877; 137/878; 137/881; 137/625.46; 137/625.47
International Class: F16K 11/10
U.S Patent Documents:
Foreign Patent Documents: 2005031200
Other References:









Abstract: A fluid isolation valve having a valve body with a first fluid flow port, a second fluid flow port and a fluid drain port with a valve in the fluid drain port. The valve body also defines a fluid flow channel, a drain flow channel and a valve portion, wherein the valve portion is disposed in the valve body to be communicated with the first fluid flow port, the second fluid flow port and the fluid drain port. A flow diversion device is also provided and is disposed within the valve portion. The flow diversion device is configurable between a first configuration and a second configuration, such that when the flow diversion device is in the first configuration the first fluid flow port is communicated with the second fluid flow port. Consequently, when the flow diversion device is in the second configuration the first fluid flow port is communicated with the fluid drain port. The fluid flow can be decrease or stop by use of the valve within the fluid drain port.
Claim: What is claimed is:

1. A fluid isolation valve comprising: a valve body, said valve body having a first fluid flow port, a second fluid flow port, a fluid drain port, and a hot water reliefport; and a flow diversion device disposed within said valve body said flow diversion device including, a ball rotatable about and axis of rotation; a through hole extending through said ball; and at least one fluid flow path through said valve body,said flow diversion device being configurable between a first configuration wherein said first fluid flow port is in fluid communication with said second fluid flow port through said through hole and said first fluid flow port is in fluid communicationwith said hot water relief port through said at least on fluid flow path, and a second configuration closing fluid communication between said first fluid flow port and said second fluid flow port wherein said first fluid flow port is in fluidcommunication with said fluid drain port and said first fluid flow port is in fluid communication with said hot water relief port through said at least on fluid flow path.

2. The fluid isolation device according to claim 1 wherein said at least on fluid flow path further comprises a first blind hole coaxially aligned with said axis of rotation and extending through the surface of said ball to the center of saidball.

3. The fluid isolation device according to claim 1 wherein said at least on fluid flow path further comprises a second blind hole aligned perpendicular to axis of rotation and said through hole and extending through the surface of said ball tothe center of said ball.

4. The fluid isolation device according to claim 1, further comprising: a handle attached to said ball on said axis of rotation to allow manual rotation of said ball about said axis of rotation.

5. The fluid isolation device according to claim 1, wherein in said second configuration, said ball is angularly displace by about 90 degrees about said axis of rotation relative to orientation of said ball in said first configuration.
Description: FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to isolation valves and more particularly to isolation valves for an in-line appliance.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Isolation valves are well known and are traditionally used in plumbing and heating applications to control the flow of water or other fluid to and from an in-line appliance or piece of equipment for purposes of maintenance, replacement or repair. However, current designs are large and bulky and do not allow for a full fluid flow. This is undesirable for many reasons. In-line appliances are typically disposed in limited spaces, thus the large bulky size of current designs make them cumbersomeand difficult to install in limited spaces. In some cases the limited space makes them impossible to install, remove and/or repair. Furthermore, some in-line appliances, e.g. tankless water heaters, are tested by fluid flow rates and temperaturecalculations. Disadvantageously, the partial fluid flow capability of current designs makes it difficult for the in-line appliance to be accurately tested or subject to maintenance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A fluid isolation valve is provided having a valve body with a first fluid flow port, a second fluid flow port and a fluid drain port with a valve in the fluid drain port. The valve body also defines a fluid flow channel, a drain flow channeland a valve portion, wherein the valve portion is disposed in the valve body to facilitate fluid communication with the first fluid flow port, the second fluid flow port and the fluid drain port. A flow diversion device is also provided and is disposedwithin the valve portion. The flow diversion device is configurable between a first configuration and a second configuration, such that when the flow diversion device is in the first configuration wherein the first fluid flow port is communicated withthe second fluid flow port. Consequently, when the flow diversion device is in the second configuration the first fluid flow port is communicated with the fluid drain port.

Advantageously, the fluid isolation according to the invention allows testing of an installed in-line appliance and easy cleaning and flushing of any such in-line appliance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a hot water isolation valve according to the invention in a first configuration;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the hot water isolation valve of FIG. 1 in a second configuration;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a cold water isolation valve according to the invention in a first configuration;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the cold water isolation valve of FIG. 3 in a second configuration;

FIG. 5A is a complete plan view of a third embodiment of a cold water isolation valve according to the invention;

FIG. 5A1 is a complete section view of the valve of FIG. 5A illustrating flow from the first port to the second port;

FIG. 5A2 is a complete section view of the valve of FIG. 5A1 illustrating flow through the drain port;

FIG. 5B is side plan view of the third embodiment of a cold water isolation valve according to the invention;

FIG. 5B1 is a complete section view of the value of FIG. 5B;

FIG. 6A is a complete plan view of a third embodiment of a hot water isolation valve according to the invention;

FIG. 6A1 is a complete section view of the valve of FIG. 6A illustrating flow from the first port to the second port;

FIG. 6A2 is a complete section view of the valve of FIG. 6A1 illustrating flow through the drain port;

FIG. 6B is a side plan view of the third embodiment of a hot water isolation valve according to the invention;

FIG. 6B1 is a complete section view of the value of FIG. 6B;

FIG. 7A is a schematic front view of ball portion of a ball valve in a first configuration according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7B is a schematic bottom view of ball portion of a ball valve in a first configuration according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7C is a schematic front view of ball portion of a ball valve in a second configuration according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7D is a schematic bottom view of ball portion of a ball valve in a second configuration according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a hot water isolation valve having hot water relief port and a hot water relief valve incorporated therein; and

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic representation of a tankless water heater disposed between a water source and a plumbing system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a hot water isolation valve 100 is shown and includes a first hot water port 102, a second hot water port 104, a hot water relief port 106 and a hot water drain port 108. Hot water isolation valve 100 defines a hot waterflow channel 101 and a hot water drain channel 103. The hot water flow channel 101 provides fluid communication between the first hot water port 102 and the second hot water port 104. The hot water drain channel 103 provides fluid communication betweenthe first hot water port 102 and the hot water drain port 108. The hot water isolation valve 100 includes a flow diversion device (not shown), such as a ball valve, disposed within a valve portion 110 disposed between first hot water port 102, secondhot water port 104, hot water relief port 106 and hot water drain port 108. Moreover, the flow diversion device is configurable between a first configuration and a second configuration via a flow adjustment means 112, such as a lever, wing, oval orbutterfly handle, for example.

In FIG. 1, the flow diversion device is shown in a first configuration wherein hot water flow is between first hot water port 102 and second hot water port 104. In FIG. 2, the flow diversion device is shown in a second configuration wherein hotwater flow is between first hot water port 102 and hot water drain port 108. It should be noted that hot water relief port 106 includes a threaded portion (female) for receiving a hot water relief valve. However, although hot water relief port 106 isshown having a threaded (female) portion, it should be appreciated that hot water relief port 106 may be configured for connecting with a hot water relief valve in any manner suitable to the desired end purpose, such as a threaded portion (male), afriction fit connector, a crimped connector, a clamped connector, a quick disconnect connector, or the like. Additional embodiments of the invention included a pressure relief valve in communication with the pressure relief port 106. In certainembodiments the pressure relief valve can be built into the valve body or into the pressure relief port 106 thereof. Other embodiments can include a pressure relief valve that is external to the valve body and operably connected to the pressure reliefport 106.

Illustrative embodiments of the present invention include a flow diversion device, such as a ball valve, which allows the hot water relief port 106 to be open in both configurations of the flow adjustment means 112. For example, in the firstconfiguration, the hot water flow is between the first hot water port 102 and the second hot water port 104, and is also open to the hot water relief port 106. In the second configuration, the hot water flow is between the first hot water port 102 andthe hot water drain port 108 and is also open to the hot water relief port 106. This allows fluid communication between the first hot water port 102 and the hot water relief port 106 regardless of configuration of the flow diversion device. A hot waterrelief valve can be provided in communication with the hot water relief port such that the hot water relief valve is always in fluid communication with the first hot water relief port 102. This embodiment provides an important safety feature which canprevent an overpressure condition in a system or appliance such as a tankless water heater to which the inventive hot water valve is installed.

Referring to FIG. 3, a cold water isolation valve 200 is shown and includes a first cold water port 202, a second cold water port 204 and a cold water drain port 206. Cold water isolation valve 200 defines a cold water flow channel 201 and acold water drain channel 203, wherein cold water flow channel 201 is disposed to communicate first cold water port 202 with second cold water port 204 and wherein cold water drain channel 203 is disposed to communicate second cold water port 204 withcold water drain port 206. Cold water isolation valve 200 also includes a flow diversion device, such as a ball valve, disposed within a valve portion 208. Valve portion 208 is disposed between first cold water port 202, second cold water port 204 andcold water drain port 206. Moreover, the flow diversion device is configurable between a first configuration and a second configuration via a flow adjustment means 210. In FIG. 3, the flow diversion device is shown in a first configuration wherein coldwater flow is between first cold water port 202 and second cold water port 204. In FIG. 4, the flow diversion device is shown in a second configuration wherein cold water flow is between second cold water port 204 and cold water drain port 206.

Referring to FIGS. 5A, 5A1, 5A2, 5B and 5B1, a further illustrative cold water isolation valve 500 according to the invention is shown and includes a first cold water port 502, a second cold water port 504 and a cold water drain port 506 having adrain valve 501. In this further illustrative embodiment, the drain valve 501 is a ball valve fitted with a drain valve handle 507. The drain valve handle 507 is a one leaf handle that allows actuation of the drain valve 501 in a more compact valvedesign. It is contemplated within the scope of the invention that the drain valve 501 can be without a handle and be actuated by a set screw, any handle configuration or the like. It is also contemplated within the scope of the invention that the drainvalve 501 can be other than a ball valve such as a traditional stem and valve seat design or the like.

The cold water isolation valve 500 defines a cold water flow path 503 and a cold water drain path 505, illustrated in FIG. 5A1 and FIG. 5A2 respectively, wherein the cold water flow path 503 is disposed to communicate the first cold water port502 with the second cold water port 504 and wherein the cold water drain path 505 is disposed to communicate the first cold water port 502 with the cold water drain port 506. The cold water isolation valve 500 also includes a flow diversion device, suchas a ball valve 509, disposed within a valve portion 508. The ball valve 509 is actuated with a butterfly handle 511. It is contemplated within the scope of this invention that the ball valve 509 can be actuated with a single lever handle, set screw,circular handle or the like. The valve portion 508 is disposed between the first cold water port 502, second cold water port 504 and cold water drain port 506. Moreover, the flow diversion device is configurable between a first configuration, i.e. toopen the cold water flow path 503, and a second configuration, i.e. to open the cold water drain path 505, via the ball valve 509.

Turning to FIG. 5B and FIG. 5B1, a side plan view and a cut-a-way side view of the flow diversion device are shown. In a first configuration, the cold water flow is between the first cold water port 502 and second cold water port 504. The ballvalve 509 has a second configuration wherein cold water flow is between the first cold water port 502 and cold water drain port 506. Advantageously, the drain port 506 may be fitted with the drain valve 501, which allows a operator of the valve 500 theability to check flow within the second configuration while affixing a drainage or pumping device to the cold water drain port 506. The first cold water port 502 has a union connection 533 with a threaded portion (female) allowing for reliable sealingof the cold water isolation valve 500 within a plumbing system. The union connection 533 has a union nut 534 that sealably attaches the cold water isolation valve to the plumbing system with the use of a union washer 513. The union connection 533further contains an insulator 535 formed of a polymeric material. The insulator 535 precludes galvanic action that might occur when a nipple or a pipe connecting to the valve 500 is iron or a metal dissimilar to the valve 500.

The second cold water port 504 has a threaded portion (female) allowing for threaded engagement to the plumbing system. It is contemplated within the scope of the invention that either cold water port 502, 504 can have a union connection orthreaded connection. It is further contemplated within the scope of the invention that either cold water port 502, 504 can have other means of attachment known in the art such as threaded portion (male), a friction fit connector, a sweat connection, acrimped connector, a clamped connector, a quick disconnect connector, flange or the like.

According to the invention, the ball valve 509 allows for at least two configurations of fluid flow. A ball 520 forming the ball valve 509 is seated within the valve body with a first polymeric valve seat 522, a second polymeric valve seat 523,a third polymeric valve seat 527 and a fourth polymeric valve seat 528. In one illustrative embodiment, the valve seats 522, 523, 527, 528 are formed of Teflon.RTM.. It is contemplated within the scope of the invention that any polymeric materialhaving sufficient sealing qualities may be used. The ball valve 509 is positioned within the valve housing by way of a ball valve cap 530.

Affixed to the ball 520 is a valve stem 524. The valve stem 524 is sealably seated into the valve body with a polymeric valve stem seat 526 and a valve stem nut 529. Attached to the valve stem 524 is the butterfly handle 511 that is secured bythe use of a handle nut 531. Within the ball 520 geometric channels allow for various flow diversions to and from the ports 502, 504 and cold water drain port 508.

Referring to FIGS. 6A, 6A1, 6A2, 6B, and 6B1, a hot water isolation valve 600 is shown and includes a first hot water port 602, a second hot water port 604, a hot water relief port 606 and a hot water drain port 608. The hot water drain port 608is fitted with a drain port valve 601. The hot water isolation valve 600 defines a hot water flow channel 603 and a hot water drain channel 605. The hot water flow channel 603 provides fluid communication between the first hot water port 602 and thesecond hot water port 604. The hot water flow channel 603 is also open to the hot water relief port 606. The hot water drain channel 605 provides fluid communication between the first hot water port 602 and the hot water drain port 608 having a drainport valve 601. The hot water drain channel 605 is also open to the hot water relief port 606. The hot water isolation valve 600 includes a ball valve 609 as a flow diversion device, disposed within a valve portion 610 between first hot water port 602,second hot water port 604, hot water relief port 606 and hot water drain port 608 having the drain port valve 601. Moreover, the ball valve 609 is configurable between a first configuration and a second configuration via a handle 612. In a firstconfiguration, the hot water flow is between first hot water port 602, second hot water port 604 and hot water relief port 606. In a second configuration the hot water flow is between first hot water port 602, hot water drain port 608 and hot waterrelief port 606.

According to the illustrative embodiments of invention, the hot water relief port 606 includes a threaded portion (female) for receiving a hot water relief valve. Although the hot water relief port 606 is shown having a threaded (female)portion, it should be appreciated that hot water relief port 606 may be configured for connecting with a hot water relief valve in any manner suitable to the desired end purpose, such as a threaded portion (male), a friction fit connector, a crimpedconnector, a clamped connector, a quick disconnect connector, or the like. Alternative embodiments of the invention can include a hot water relief valve that is incorporated with the hot water relief port rather than being connected thereto.

Turning to FIGS. 6B and 6B1, a side plan and a cut-a-way side view of the flow diversion device are shown. In a first configuration hot water flow is between first hot water port 602 and second hot water port 604. The flow diversion device,ball valve 609, has a second configuration wherein hot water flow is between first hot water port 602 and hot water drain port 608. Advantageously, the drain port 608 is fitted with the drain valve (not shown), which allows a user of the hot waterisolation valve 600 the ability to check flow within the second configuration while affixing a drainage or pumping device to the hot water drain port 608.

The first hot water port 602 has a union connection 633 with a threaded portion (female) allowing for reliable sealing of the hot water isolation valve 600 within a plumbing system. The union connection 633 has a union nut 634 that sealablyattaches the hot water isolation valve 600 to the plumbing system with the use of a union washer 613. The union connection 633 has an insulator 605 formed of a polymeric material. The insulator 605 precludes galvanic action that might occur when anipple or a pipe connecting to the valve 600 is iron or a metal dissimilar to the valve 600.

The second hot water port 604 has a threaded portion (female) allowing for threaded engagement to the plumbing system. It is contemplated within the scope of the invention that either hot water port 602, 604 can have a union connection orthreaded connection. It is further contemplated within the scope of the invention that either hot water port 602, 604 can have other means of attachment known in the art such as threaded portion (male), a friction fit connector, a crimped connector, aclamped connector, a quick disconnect connector, or the like.

According to the invention, the ball valve 609 allows for at least two configurations of fluid flow. A ball 620 forming the ball valve 609 is seated within the valve body with a first polymeric valve seat 622, a second polymeric valve seat 623,a third polymeric valve seat 627 and a fourth polymeric valve seat 628. In one illustrative embodiment the valve seats 622, 623, 627, 628 are formed of Teflon.RTM.. It is contemplated within the scope of the invention that any polymeric material havingsufficient sealing qualities may be used. The ball valve 609 is positioned within the valve housing by way of a ball valve cap 630. Affixed to the ball 620 is a valve stem 624. The valve stem 624 is sealably seated into the valve body with a polymericvalve stem seat 626 and a valve stem nut 629. Within the ball 620 geometric channels allow for various flow diversions to and from the ports 602, 604 and hot water drain port 608.

A more detailed description of the ball 620 forming ball valve 609 according to illustrative embodiments of the present invention is provided with referring to FIGS. 7A-7D. FIG. 7A is a schematic front view of the ball 620 in a firstconfiguration wherein the rotational axis 712 is oriented vertically and handle 710 is rigidly attached to the top of ball 620 so that turning the handle 710 can rotate the ball about the rotational axis 712 within the ball valve 609 (FIG. 6B). When theball is installed in a hot water valve, the schematic front view shown in FIGS. 7A and 7C coincide with a view into the hot water drain port with handle on top. In the first configuration, a through-hole 714 passes through the center of the ball 620 toprovide an open flow path from a first hot water port 702 to a second hot water port 704. A first blind-hole 716 is co-axially aligned with the rotational axis 712 and passes from the ball surface that is opposite from the handle attachment point intothe through hole 714 to provide a flow path to hot water pressure relief port 706. FIG. 7B is a schematic bottom view of the ball 620 in a first configuration wherein the rotational axis 712 is orthogonal to the page. A second blind hole 718 isorthogonal to a plane formed by the rotational axis 712 and the central axis of through hole 714. In the first configuration shown in FIG. 7B, a hot water drain port 708 is closed and the second blind hole 718 extends from the ball surface opposite thehot water drain port 708 to the ball center and intersects both the through hole 714 and the first blind hole 716.

FIG. 7C is a schematic front view of the ball 620 in a second configuration wherein the rotational axis 712 is oriented vertically and handle 710 is rigidly attached to the top of ball 620 so that turning the handle 710 can rotate the ball aboutthe rotational axis 712 within the ball valve 609 (FIG. 6B). In the second configuration, the through hole 714 is aligned with the hot water drain port 708 and the second blind hole 718 is aligned with the first hot water port 702 to provide an openflow path between the hot water drain port 708 and first hot water port 702. In the second configuration, no flow path is provided to second hot water port 704. Because the first blind hole 706 is coaxially aligned with the rotational axis 712, itsalways remains aligned with hot water relief port 706. This provides an open flow path between the hot water relief port 706 and first hot water port 702 in both first and second configurations. In the second configuration, the hot water relief port isalso open to the hot water drain port 708. FIG. 7D is a schematic bottom view of the ball 620 in the second configuration wherein rotational axis 712 is orthogonal to the page. The ball as shown in FIG. 71) is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwiserelative to the ball as shown in FIG. 7B while the locations of first hot water port 702, second hot water port 704, hot water drain port 708 and hot water pressure relief port 706 remain constant.

A cross sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 8 in which a hot water relief valve 802 is built into the hot water relief port 806 of a hot water isolation valve 800. In this embodiment, the hotwater relief valve 802 is oriented in parallel with the second hot water port. Although the illustrative embodiment is shown wherein the hot water relief port 804 includes a corner portion 806 so that the hot water relief valve 802 is oriented inparallel with the second hot water port 808, it should be appreciated by persons having skill in the art that the hot water relief port 804 can be provided with no corner portion 806 or with a corner portion formed with a different angle from that shown,without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 9, a typical in-line appliance set up is shown and includes a tankless water heater 300 connected between a water source 302 (such as a well or water main) and a plumbing system 304 (such as a plumbing system supplying abuilding), wherein tankless water heater 300 includes a first tankless water port 306 and a second tankless water port 308.

Referring to FIG. 9 and FIGS. 1-4, cold water isolation valve 200 is connected to water source 302 via first cold water port 202 and tankless water heater 300 via second cold water port 204 which is connected to first tankless water port 306. When the flow diversion device of cold water isolation valve 200 is in a first configuration, cold water is allowed to flow from water source 302, into first cold water port 202, through the cold water flow channel 201 (FIG. 3), out of second cold waterport 204 and into first tankless water port 306. When the flow diversion device of cold water isolation valve 200 is in a second configuration, the flow path of cold water isolation valve 200 is between cold water drain port 206 and second cold waterport 204 to facilitate draining the tankless water heater 300 via cold water drain channel 203 (FIG. 3). In the second position or configuration of the cold water isolation valve 200 the cold water is prevented from flowing into tankless water heater300 via first cold water port 202. A cold water drain flow stop 212 (FIG. 3) or a drain valve may be provided for sealing off cold water drain port 206, thus completely preventing cold water from flowing through cold water isolation valve 200.

Hot water isolation valve 100 is connected to tankless water heater 300 via second tankless water port 308 which is connected to first hot water port 102. Additionally, hot water isolation valve 100 is connected to plumbing system 304 via secondhot water port 104. When the flow diversion device of hot water isolation valve 100 is in a first configuration, hot water is allowed to flow from second tankless water port 308, into first hot water port 102 through the hot water flow channel 101 (FIG.1), out of second hot water port 104 and into plumbing system 304. When the flow diversion device of hot water isolation valve 100 is in a second configuration, hot water is allowed to flow from second tankless water port 308, into first hot water port102 through the hot water drain channel 103 (FIG. 1) and out of hot water drain port 108 to facilitate draining the hot water side of the system (and emptying the tankless water heater). In the second configuration, water is prevented from flowing intoplumbing system 304. A hot water drain flow stop 114 (FIG. 1) or drain valve may be provided for sealing off hot water drain port 108, thus preventing water from flowing through hot water isolation valve 100.

This above described design advantageously allows for tankless water heater 300 and/or plumbing system 304 to be drained or flushed out. For example, when the flow diversion device of cold water isolation valve 200 is in the secondconfiguration, a flushing device containing a flushing fluid, such as water or chemical solvent, may be connected to cold water drain port 206 to inject the flushing fluid into cold water drain port 206. The flushing fluid will flow through cold waterdrain channel 203, out of second cold water port 204, into first tankless water port 306 and through tankless water heater 300. The flushing fluid will then flow out of second tankless water port 308 and into first hot water port 102. If the flowdiversion device of hot water isolation valve 100 is in the second configuration, the allowable flow path of the flushing fluid is between first hot water port 102 and hot water drain port 108, advantageously allowing tankless water heater 300 to beflushed. It should be appreciated that the above described flushing may also be performed in a reverse manner using hot water drain port 108 as an inlet flow port and cold water drain port 206 as an outlet flow port.

It is contemplated that one objective of this valve is to isolate the cold water feed and the hot water piping to a plumbing system so that the water heater can be replaced. These tankless on-demand water heaters typically mount onto a wall withfastening devices. To replace the unit, the valves can be shut off, the unions (e.g. first hot water port 102 and second cold water port 204) disconnected and the water heater removed from the wall. The drain ports having valves will be used to testthe system and flush out the water heater with chemicals when the water source 302 and plumbing system 304 are disconnected. The drain port valves allow an operator to control the flow of fluids through the tankless water heater 300, which allows anoperator greater convenience and safety for testing and flushing operations. A pressure relief valve threaded into the hot water isolator valve will always be open to the water heater no matter what position the ball is in because the hole will beopposite the stem.

This innovative design will advantageously save space and time and offer a full fluid flow. The full fluid flow of the drain is important because the hot water heater is tested by fluid flow and temperature calculation. Moreover, space is alsocritical because these units are installed in small spaces. This design is less than half the length of current designs advantageously allowing these new isolation valves to be used in small spaces.

A cold water isolation valve and a hot water isolation valve may be packaged together. Moreover, it should be appreciated that any size valve and configuration suitable to the desired end purpose may be used.

It should be appreciated that first hot water ports 102 and first cold water ports 204 are union connections, as is known in the art, for connecting hot water isolation valve 100 and cold water isolation valve 200 to tankless water heater 300.

Although an exemplary embodiment of hot water isolation valves and cold water isolation valves includes a forged-brass construction, hot water isolation valves and cold water isolation valves may be constructed, in whole, in part or incombination, using any material suitable to the desired end purpose, such as cast brass, copper, iron, plastic and/or a composite material, such as polycarbonate. Moreover, although connections between hot water isolation valves, cold water isolationvalves plumbing system and tankless water heater are shown and described as threaded screw type connections, it should be appreciated that these connections may be any connections suitable to the desired end purpose, such as friction fit connectors,crimped connectors, clamped connectors, quick disconnect connectors, or the like.

Although an exemplary embodiment of hot water isolation valves and cold water isolation valves show their use in connecting a tankless water heater to a plumbing system, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the inventiveisolation valves can be used to attach and isolate other plumbing appliances or plumbing systems known in the art within an overall plumbing system.

Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to exemplary embodiments thereof, various other changes, omissions and additions in the form and detail thereof may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope ofthe invention.

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